Monday, September 28, 2009

Youth Mass Purgatory

LC and I were away for the weekend in southern California and had not been to Mass yet. We were driving back from Sacramento, and our flight had gotten in too late to go to Mass there. So we planned to go to a 5 PM Mass somewhere to fulfill our obligation.

We got into Carson City in time for the Youth Mass at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community. I guess I go to Youth/LifeTeen Masses every once in a while to remember why I don't like going to Youth/LifeTeen Masses.

Everyone was talking in the sanctuary before Mass, making prayer difficult.

It started off with the senior team members (or some such term, which seemed to be half the kids) standing with their backs to the altar and clapping to the opening song, which was typical "Aren't We Great?" fare. Music was provided by a guitarist, a bass player, and a drummer.

The kids clapped to just about every song, and at the end of each. Applause was the rule of the day here, never mind that it is only at an ordination Mass that applause is allowed.

"Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. " (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 198)
Father may have been ill. He left the altar three times and did not distribute the Eucharist. Moreover, he omitted the entire second half of the Eucharistic Prayer! I'm guessing that at any other given Mass, he would not have done so. But more disturbing than that illicit slip was this: Despite the fact that the sanctuary had kneelers, no one knelt during the Eucharistic Prayer.

The Our Father and the Sign of Peace were complete chaos. The kids ran around the sanctuary to find their BFFs to stand next to, and then went all over again to give the Sign of the Lack of Peace. I declined to give it to one girl who was "making the rounds."

I mentioned Father didn't distribute the Eucharist. The EMHCs did . . . using crystal glass to hold the Body and Blood of Christ, which is expressly forbidden:
“...Reprobated, therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels, or others lacking in quality, or devoid of all artistic merit or which are mere containers, as also other vessels made from glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily. This norm is to be applied even as regards metals and other materials that easily rust or deteriorate....” (Redemptionis Sacramentum, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments)
There was no closing prayer, but there was 10 minutes of announcements. And then the congregation gave itself the doxology!

Bottom line: This Mass had all the reverence of a Miley Cyrus concert. And is it any surprise why so many Catholic teens transition to their twenties and fall away from the Church because they discover to their horror it's not like they thought it was at their precious Sunday afternoon pseudo-Masses?

Now, I'm not bashing the whole parish here: it looks like it's on the right track in many other ways. But Youth Masses really do Catholic youth a disservice, telling them the Mystery of the Sacrifice of the Mass really isn't for them unless it's packaged like a Disney Channel show. Why do so many well-meaning parishes give them a counterfeit liturgy?